The wailings of the Cherokee, the Choctaw, and the Creek, may have been wafted across the waters of the great salt lake, and the Pale-face in his own land may have heard their lamentations;—but the distant voice is scattered by the passing winds, and is heard like the whisper of a summer breeze as it steals along the prairies of the west, or the cry of the wish-ton-wish as it faintly reaches the ear of the navigator, when, in the stilly night, he floats down “the old father of waters.”
The present posture of Indian affairs, and the peculiar situation of the Indian nations east of the Mississippi, have caused that unfortunate people to be the topic of much political controversy and conversation; a succinct account of the political condition of these tribes, and of the policy which has been pursued, and which is being pursued towards them, by the executive government, may not therefore be uninteresting.
When Georgia, by becoming a member of the Union, ceded part of her sovereignty to the general executive, that government acknowledged her claimed limits, and guaranteed to her the protection of the Union against foreign and domestic violence. Subsequently, in the year of 1802, in consideration of a certain portion of lands ceded, the United States became bound to purchase for Georgia, any claim which the Cherokee nation might have on lands within her boundaries, whenever such purchase could be made on reasonable terms. On these positions are based the Georgian claims, which the United States government has hitherto pleaded inability to satisfy, inasmuch as all efforts to purchase the Indian lands have proved fruitless.
After the lapse of twenty-seven years, Georgia, finding herself precisely in the same condition in which she then stood, has determined on forcibly taking possession of the Cherokee lands, and extending her sovereignty over the Cherokee people. But as this cannot be effected without doing manifest violence to the Indian rights, she brings forward arguments to show, that she never acknowledged the independence of the Cherokee nation; that that nation, from the time of the first settlement made by Europeans in America, stood in the position of a conquered people; that the sovereignty consequently dwelt in the hands of Great Britain; and that, on the Declaration of independence, Georgia, by becoming a free state, became invested with all the powers of sovereignty claimed or exercised by Great Britain over the Georgian territory: and further, that in November, 1785, when the first and only treaty was concluded with the Cherokees by the United States, during the articles of confederation, both she and North Carolina entered their solemn protests against this alleged violation of their legislative rights. The executive government pretends not to argue the case with Georgia, and is left no alternative but either to annul its conditional treaty